I am perplexed by the modern invention of social media where anyone at any moment often unexpectedly might become famous or infamous. Much like winning a lottery the instant fame is a rush that might destroy one’s life or propel them to new heights of opportunities. When social media hijacks someone’s life the good or bad results really comes down to the character of that individual. Is the viral moment something awful or funny or noble? When I was a child, I thought about the idea that God sees everything that I do good or bad and that I was responsible for my actions. I tell my own children that they should operate their lives as if someone is filming everything they say or do and they will be judged more harshly by man than God.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 ESV
Biblically speaking it is a vanity of ego and pride to seek out social media attention. But we all do it with the perfect photos of something wonderful we have done. Or the glowing reviews we give to a significant other to make our friends jealous. I think the obsession the twenty somethings have with travel is so they can post the pictures online. Look how wonderful I am. Yet here is Jesus telling the disciples that they are a light that cannot be hidden and that they will get attention for “all your good works”. Seems like a contradiction to me.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 ESV
The contradiction then lies in who the attention points. If I work hard to gain social media attention or attention in life then I must ask why am I doing that work? For my own personal glory? For my own ego? Or is the work I am doing inspired by the Holy Spirit being noticed in spite of me? Are people looking at the work and thinking wow God is amazing? The light Jesus is talking about is not my light but the light that comes from him. The light of my life should not be my ego. The light proclaimed and flowing out of me is sourced from God and everyone in my orbit, family, friends, coworkers, enemies, and neighbors all know this light is different than the darkness of the world.
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Exodus 34:29-30 ESV
While the light I shine is not literal but spiritual there is a physical example that illustrates spiritually what is happening when we abide in Christ. Moses who spent more time in the physical presence of God than any person since maybe Adam and Eve is impacted by being in the presence of God. Unknown to him when he brings the ten commandments to the people, they are afraid because Moses is literally glowing. He is reflecting the light of God back toward others. When we spend time in the light of God’s truth, abiding in Christ our lives reflect that light of truth. Jesus tells the disciples that God’s light will shine forth from them and there is not anything they can do to hide that light.
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. John 3:19-20 ESV
Unlike social media where one wants to shine for the approval of other people. The light Jesus spoke of was an exposing, convicting, holy light from God. Many people hate that light and will pull away from it, try to ignore it, or even try to stamp it out. But you dear reader are here because either you are called by God to live a holy life that glows in this dark world or you dear reader are craving a relationship with God to be blessed with light in your own life to see in a dark world. Both reasons require a loving relationship with God that is lead by the Holy Spirit through the work of Jesus Christ. Embrace that relationship take your cares, worries, loves, and success to Jesus and adore him. You will be giving so much light everyone will take notice.